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Today in Chess History: Jul 21

  • #1

    Jul 21, 1838: Johann Nepomuk Maelzel died in Abort ship, La Guaira, Venezuela.

    Jul 21, 1857: Miksa Weiss was born in Szered, Czech Republ.

    Jul 21, 1861: George Nelson Cheney, US composer, died in Bull Run, Virginia, USA.

    Jul 21, 1861: Albert Hodges was born in Nashville, Tennessee, USA.

    Jul 21, 1875: Gaetano Nicolosi was born in Linguaglossa, Italy.

    Jul 21, 1876: Johann Jacob Lowenthal died in Hastings, England.

    Jul 21, 1957: Vladimir Malaniuk was born in Arkhangelsk, USSR.

    Jul 21, 1958: Dimitar Donchev was born in Szumen, Bulgaria.

    Jul 21, 1960: Ugo Lancia, Italian composer, died in Messina, Italy.

    Jul 21, 1967: Walter Arencibia was born in Holguin, Cuba.

    Jul 21, 2000: Vladimir Bagirov died in Jyvaskyli , Finland.

  • #2

    Miksa (Max) Weiss (July 21, 1857March 14, 1927) was an Austrian chess player born in the Kingdom of Hungary.

    Weiss was born in Sereď. Moving to Vienna, he studied mathematics and physics at the university, and later taught those subjects. Weiss learned to play chess at age 12, and his strength increased steadily throughout the 1880s.

    • 1880, Graz, tied with Adolf Schwarz and Johannes von Minckwitz for first prize.
    • 1882, Vienna, tenth, won two games from Johann Zukertort, and drew with Wilhelm Steinitz.
    • 1883, Nuremberg, tenth.
    • 1885, Hamburg, tied with Berthold Englisch and Siegbert Tarrasch for second prize.
    • 1887, Frankfort-on-the-Main, divided second and third prizes with Joseph Henry Blackburne.
    • 1888, Bradford, tied with Blackburne for sixth prize.
    • 1889, New York, (the sixth American Chess Congress), scored +24−4=10 to tie with Mikhail Chigorin for first prize, ahead of Isidor Gunsberg and Blackburne.
    • 1889, Breslau, third prize.
    • 1890, Vienna, first prize, ahead of Johann Bauer and Englisch.

    The New York 1889 tournament was organized to find a challenger for the World Chess Championship, but neither Chigorin (who had already lost a championship match) nor Weiss pursued a title match with Steinitz. In fact, having become one of the top players in the world, Weiss quit international chess after this tournament, though he did play a few Viennese events. In 1895 he defeated Georg Marco in a match, +5 −1 =1, and he tied for first in the 1895–6 winter tournament with Carl Schlechter. Around this time, Weiss began working to create a Viennese school of chess players.

    In 1905 Weiss was employed by S M von Rothschild bank in Vienna. His chess writings, Schach-Meistersteich (Mühlhausen 1918), Kleines Schachlehrbuch (Mühlhausen 1920), and the earlier problem collection Caissa Bambergensis (Bamberg 1902), are little remembered today. In 1927 Weiss died in Vienna, Austria.


  • #3

    Johann Nepomuk Mälzel (August 15, 1772 - July 21, 1838) was an inventor, engineer, and showman, best known for manufacturing a metronome and several music automatons, and displaying a fraudulent chess machine.

    Mälzel was born in Regensburg (Germany) as the son of an organ builder. He received a comprehensive musical education and moved to Vienna in 1792. There he invented the panharmonicon, an automaton able to play the musical instruments of a military band, powered by bellows and directed by revolving cylinders storing the notes. In 1813 he met Beethoven and convinced him to write a piece for the panharmonicon, "Wellington's Victory" (Op. 91). Rewritten for orchestra, it was first performed in 1813 and later caused a bitter conflict between the two men, when Mälzel claimed ownership of the piece and Beethoven sued. Earlier, Mälzel had constructed several ear trumpets to help Beethoven with his hearing.

    Mälzel also constructed a trumpet automaton and a speaking doll with moving eyes.

    In 1815, Mälzel constructed and patented a portable metronome, to this day known as Mälzel's Metronome (MM). The metronome had been invented earlier by Dietrich Nikolaus Winkel, and Mälzel used several of Winkel's construction ideas.

    Wolfgang von Kempelen had constructed a chess machine in 1769. It consisted of a chess table and a mechanical life-size puppet dressed as a Turk (which gave the machine its name) sitting behind the table. The puppet mechanically moved the chess pieces. Under the table an elaborate mechanism could be shown to the public; behind that mechanism a small chess player was hidden. Von Kempelen went on tour with the Turk, attracting much attention. Early on, several writers suspected a hidden human player, but others philosophized about the implications of the mechanization of intelligence.

    After von Kempelen's death in 1804, Mälzel acquired the machine from von Kempelen's son, and again went on tour with it. At that time, the hidden chess player was William Lewis. In 1825 the British mathematician Robert Willies wrote a study, detailing how a chess player could hide below the table.

    In the same year, Mälzel left Europe for New York and exhibited the Turk on the East Coast of the United States, leading again to several newspapers reports. He modified the machine so that it could also play Whist. Already after a few months, several clones of the machine were being exhibited by others.

    But then two youths in Baltimore oversaw how the chess player William Schlumberger climbed out of the Turk, leading to articles in the Baltimore Gazette explaining the fraud. Edgar Allan Poe, apparently unaware of this article, wrote another analysis of the machine, attempting to expose the fraud. It was titled "Maelzel's Chess Player" and published in the April 1836 issue of the Southern Literary Messenger.

    Schlumberger later died of yellow fever. Mälzel started to drink and grew ill on a ship making a return trip to Philadelphia. He was buried at sea on the spot, which at that time was off the coast of Charleston, SC.

    The Turk was destroyed in 1854 during a museum fire in Philadelphia.


  • #4

    Albert Beauregard Hodges (21 July 1861 - 3 February 1944) was an American chess master.

    As one of the most well-known American chess players of the late 19th century, Hodges played an important role in transforming chess from a pleasant pastime into a social institution.

    In 1894, he lost a match to Jackson Whipps Showalter (8 : 10), and won a rematch (5.5 : 3.5), both in New York. Hodges became U.S. Champion, but announced that his ambitions in chess had been fulfilled, and that he was retiring to pursue a career in business. In addition to his reign as U.S. Champion, Hodges main claim to fame was playing inside Ajeeb, the 19th century chess automaton.

    At the beginning of his career, he lost a match to Max Judd (3 : 6) at St. Louis 1887, won at Chittenango 1890, shared second place, behind Hanham, at Skaneateles 1891, won a match against Eugene Delmar (5 : 0) at Skaneateles 1892, drew a match with Adolf Albin (4 : 4) at New York 1893, won at New York 1893, took second place, behind Harry Nelson Pillsbury, at New York 1893, took third place at Skaneateles 1895 (Quadrangular), took second place at Thousand Islands 1897 (Pillsbury won), took third place at New York 1900 (S. Lipschütz won), and tied for 14-15th at Cambridge Springs 1904 (Frank James Marshall won).

    Hodges participated seven times in cable matches between USA and England (1902-1911), and played several times for Manhattan Chess Club in friendly matches against Chicago Chess Club and Franklin Chess Club of Pennsylvania in the early 20th century.

    He tied for ninth/tenth at New York 1911 (Marshall won), tied for fifth/sixth at New York 1914 (Edward Lasker won), tied for seventh/eighth at New York 1915 (José Raúl Capablanca, tied for 10-11th at New York 1916 (Capablanca won), took fourth at New York 1921 (Quadrangular), and took 11th at Lake Hopatcong 1923 (the ninth American Chess Congress, Marshall and Abraham Kupchik won).


  • #5

    Vladimir Pavlovich Malaniuk (Malanyuk) (born July 21, 1957, Arkhangelsk, Soviet Union) is a Ukrainian chess master.

    Considered by many to be one of the more colourful characters on the chess circuit, he has an extraordinary talent for rapid chess, which has been demonstrated at some of the world's most prestigious 'speed chess' tournaments.

    In 2005, he finished second at the Tallinn (Keres Memorial) rapid event, behind Alexey Shirov but ahead of such luminaries as Anatoly Karpov and Boris Gelfand. The same year, he took the silver medal at the European Rapid Championship, behind the strong Hungarian Grandmaster (GM) Zoltan Gyimesi. His sustained efforts were again rewarded in 2006, when at the Ajaccio Open Rapid event, he finished clear winner, ahead of a large group of strong GMs and Super-GMs including Kasimdzhanov, Milov, Bareev, Motylev, Bologan, Almasi, Smirin, Sokolov, Naiditsch, Sasikirin and Van Wely.

    Whilst it is rare that older players can achieve this kind of success against more youthful talents, it is not completely unknown. Yuri Balashov is another mature player who enjoys success in such events and it is probable that good quality rapid chess relies as much on intuition as calculation and stamina, giving the experienced professional good chances against younger, sharper, but less knowledgeable minds.

    Malaniuk has also been a strong player at standard time limits, winning many national and international tournaments, including Minsk 1985, Kostroma 1985 (USSR Ch. Semi-final), Lvov 1986 and Frunze 1987 on the road to securing his Grandmaster title (awarded in 1987). There were further victories recorded at Forlì in 1990 and 1992, Porto San Giorgio 1994, Minsk 1997 Krasnodar 2001, Arkhangelsk 2002, Krasnodar 2002, Koszalin 2002, Kolobrzeg 2003, Kraków 2003 and Mielno 2006. Notable runner-up performances include Baku 1983, Tallinn 1987, Lvov 1988, Świdnica 2001 and Kraków 2004.

    He was a regular participant of the Soviet Championships between 1983 and 1991; his best finish occurring in 1986, when he shared second place behind Vitaly Tseshkovsky. In Ukraine, he has thus far been the national champion on three occasions, in 1980, 1981 and 1986. In team chess, he played for Ukraine in the Moscow 1994, Yerevan 1996 and Elista 1998 Chess Olympiads, winning team silver and bronze medals in '96 and '98, respectively.

    Malaniuk has been credited with an important contribution to chess opening theory. Along with Sergey Dolmatov, Mikhail Gurevich and Evgeny Bareev, his faithful adherence to the Leningrad Dutch Defence (described as a hybrid of the Dutch and the King's Indian) helped shape a dynamic new approach to the system in the 1980s and this led to a dramatic resurgence of interest. That it affords black the opportunity to unbalance the position and fight for the full point is probably its main attraction. The system has since become a popular choice for players at all levels, following the publication of a number of books and theoretical guides.

    In a more minor capacity, he and Vladimir Akopian are noted for their attempts at reviving the Spielmann variation (4.Qb3) of the Nimzo-Indian Defence, but have not met with any real success.

    In 2001, Russian player and chess journalist Evgeny Atarov reported that Malaniuk was severely ill and was undergoing a number of surgical operations, the funding of which had become a cause for concern.


  • #6

    Vladimir Bagirov (Baku, August 16, 1936 – Finland, July 21, 2000) was a Soviet-Azerbaijani-Latvian Grandmaster of chess, a chess author, and a chess trainer. He played in ten USSR Championships, with his best result fourth place in his debut in 1960. Bagirov was World Senior Champion in 1998. He died of a heart attack while playing a tournament game in Finland.

    Vladimir Konstantinovich Bagirov showed chess talent as a youth, and came under the wing of the Master and trainer Vladimir Makogonov. He made his debut in the semi-finals of the Soviet Championship in 1957, but did not advance to the final. Bagirov qualified for the final for the first time in 1960, and made an excellent 4th place at URS-ch27 in Leningrad; the winner was Viktor Korchnoi.

    He was selected to the Soviet team for the European Team Championship at Oberhausen 1961, and played for the Soviet Student Olympiad team in 1961. Bagirov was awarded his International Master title in 1963, but had to wait until 1978 to be formally recognized as a Grandmaster, although his 1960 Soviet Championship result showed he was clearly at that level.

    Bagirov moved into training work in the 1970s, and for a short time in 1975, as Azerbaijan national coach, was the sole trainer of future World Champion Gary Kasparov. Following a dispute with chess officials, Bagirov moved to Latvia in the late 1970s, and coached former World Champion Mikhail Tal, and future Grandmasters Alexei Shirov and Alexander Shabalov.

    Bagirov was a well-regarded openings theoretician, with one of his favourites the unusual Alekhine's Defence. He published two books and a CD-Rom from 1994 to 2000.

    Following the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, Bagirov played more tournament chess than he ever had before, taking part in many Open tournaments in Europe. He maintained a good standard, and won the 1998 World Senior Championship at Grieskirchen, Austria, with 8.5/11. Bagirov died while playing a tournament in Finland in 2000. He had started the Heart of Finland Open event with three straight wins to take the lead, and, following a time scramble, was in a winning position in round four against Teemu Laasanan, but suffered a heart attack, and died the next day, on July 21, 2000.


  • #7

    Walter Arencibia (born July 21, 1967) is a Cuban chess player. He learned chess at the age of eight and has won various tournaments, including the 1986 World Junior Chess Championship. He became a Grandmaster in 1990. Other tournament victories include the Cuban Youth Championships in 1985, and cowinning the Canadian Open Chess Championship in 2006, along with Abhijt Kunte. He has also represented Cuba at many Chess Olympiads from 1986 to 2006. His current FIDE rating is 2516 which places him tenth in Cuba and 653rd in the world.



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